When couples come to counseling and we begin working together on their issues, I often start by asking each person two important questions:
1. Do you have a desire to work on the relationship?
2. Are you willing to confront your own unattractive behavior? Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
I believe that relationships cause us to “grow up” emotionally. Relationships have a way of highlighting areas of our lives that are unattractive—and perhaps even unlovable. One of the main tenets of the Auxano Approach® is learning to Confront your Unattractive Behavior.
All relationships—marriage, friendships, business partnerships, and associations with co-workers—can be both rewarding and challenging. The strongest, healthiest, and most rewarding relationships result when each person is willing to look at his or her own flaws and allow them to be exposed and refined in the context of relationship.
Recently, a client expressed that her husband said that her anger made her very difficult to live with. She confessed that when they argued she tended to yell and call him names. For years he had asked her to stop doing this and get help, but for the first 15 years of their marriage she had refused. Only now, after her husband had threatened to separate, had she agreed to counseling. She decided that rather than lose her husband she would finally confront an area of her life that had plagued her for years.
Confronting your shortcomings is a two-step process:
Step 1: Take notice of the parts of yourself that you like—as well as the parts of yourself that you try to avoid seeing. Recognize how your behaviors, emotions, childhood trauma(s), emotional responses and communication styles may be affecting your relationships. Learn to become an observer and student of yourself.
Step 2: Take ownership of your life, your actions, your behaviors and your choices. In this step, the tendency to get defensive decreases because you have come to terms with your own issues. You no longer need to blame your parents for not teaching you correctly; you learn to take ownership of your life and your behaviors.
Notice this week what areas of your life may be negatively affecting your closest and most valuable relationships. This can be a arduous journey, but the reward is freedom, peace and more enjoyable relationships.
R. Scott Gornto